• Our Team


Valentyna Pavsyukova

Valentyna was born in 1983 in Zaporizhzhya, Ukraine, to a family that did not practice religion due to the pressures of Communism. Yet from an early age Valentyna felt a strong desire to know God. She was deeply affected by her grandmother, who taught her the Our Father Prayer as a child. Valentyna’s mother entered her name in the U.S. Green Card Lottery, thus at 18 she left Zaporizhzhya for Medford, Wisconsin. Far from home and knowing little English, she went through a very difficult period. She then remembered the Our Father Prayer her grandmother taught her and this helped sustain her, leading her to a deeper love for God as a Merciful Father. About that same time, Valentyna began to feel powerfully drawn to the Catholic Church, which she would enter in 2007. This awakened a burning desire to become a missionary, a desire which would find fulfillment in the founding of the nonprofit organization Chalice of Mercy. Mission which will present God as a Merciful and Loving Father and trough concrete deeds will protect all life and its dignity from the moment of conception until the natural death.


Fr. Pablo Escrivá de Romaní.

Ordained in Madrid 2009 . Studied Theology in the Faculty of San Damaso in Madrid. Worked specially with the youth in the parish of Santa Teresa de Jesus in Madrid for several years. When in April 2017 he went to Ukraine for the first time, he felt a strong call to give his life in this mission. Now Cardinal Carlos Osoro has allowed him to go as a missionary to Ukraine. He is currently working together with Bishop Jan Sobilo and with Valentyna in the Shrine of Merciful God the Father, giving retreats and helping specially people from the war zone, pro-life missions with doctors and the very special mission of making our Father known, loved and honored through Chalice of Mercy.

Fr Daniel Thelen

Fr Dan Thelen is currently serving as a priest in the Diocese of La Crosse. He was ordained to the Holy Priesthood in the summer of 2015. His love for Ukraine began in 2008 when he met Valentyna and learned about the great need for spiritual and physical help in her country. This desire continued to grow over the years and in 2010 he officially joined Chalice of Mercy as its Secretary. During Easter of 2013 he was blessed to visit Ukraine and served during the Easter Liturgies in God the Merciful Father Parish. During his stay he was deeply touched by the wonderful kindness and generosity of the Ukrainian people and of their great hospitality towards him. He considers it the greatest of honors to be part of this mission.

Gretchen Thibault

Chalice of Mercy is a combination of all of Gretchen’s passions combined. As a wife and the mother of nine, four of whom are adopted, Gretchen has a passion for her marriage, family, adoption and orphan advocacy. Gretchen and her husband have adopted a son and daughter from Ukraine, both of whom have Down syndrome. This experience created in her a huge heart for Ukraine. She has a strong desire to witness to the dignity of each and every human life, from the very youngest of life, to those with disabilities (especially orphans), and to the sick and elderly dying with dignity. She loves her Catholic Faith and desires to serve God in whatever way He wills.

Patricia Varela

Patricia was born in Madrid in 1985 in a Catholic family and went to a French Catholic school. Between 2003 and 2008, she studied law in Comillas Pontifical University, in Madrid and Paris. In January 2009, Patricia moved to Geneva to work for the United Nations in the field of human rights. Since she was small, she had always expressed interest in helping others and working in a multicultural environment. In Geneva, Patricia met David the person who would become her husband two years after her arrival. Father Pablo married them in December 2010, and since then, they had a very close relationship with him. Even if trying to be next to God, they gave priority to their professional careers, travelling and enjoying life, leaving their faith in a second level. In January 2015, David and Patricia became parents of twin boys: Javier and Gonzalo. When they believed to be the happiest persons on earth and have the whole future ahead them, David was diagnosed with a brain tumor with 33 years old. Their lives and priorities were totally shaken. Instead of despairing, and with Father Pablo’s support, David and Patricia embraced the cross and fully trusted God’s will. David lived his disease with an immense faith and acceptance, leaning on prayer and abandoning himself on the arms of his Mother the Virgin Mary. In this cross, they lived the greatest experience of conversion and closeness to God. What were supposed to be the two hardest years of their life, became years of true love, happiness, and understanding life as a preparation to Heaven. Supporting Chalice of Mercy Foundation is for Patricia the best way to return back some of the blessings that she has received as well as pay tribute to David and what he would have loved: help others and spread God’s love.

Rocío Rufilanchas

Rocío was born in Seville in 1977 and was given her name in honour  to the highly venerated Virgen del Rocío in the south of Spain. At the age of three, the whole family moved back to Madrid, the city of her parents. There, she started her education in a French secular school. However, and since her Mom and Grand Parents were Catholics, Rocío was taught the Christian values that she followed for many years. However, at the age of 24, Rocío decided to leave her parents’ home and started an independent life, away from her family and, in some way, also away from God; Prayer, Eucharist and Confession were certainly not her priority. She focused in enjoying life and developing a successful professional career. But, fortunately in 2009, God sent Rocío an unexpected and wonderful gift; she met her current husband Gonzalo. In 2012 they got married and started a life together. Although they were both confused in regards to religion and mistaken in their approach, they started to show a certain interest in having a more spiritual life. In 2014, they moved to Zurich for professional reasons, and it is there, in this Swiss spiritual desert, where God let them fail in order to save them. Gonzalo and Rocío had such a powerful experience of mercy, they decided to start a new life. Since then, they continue to work on their conversion and they are willing to transmit to the world how much Our Father loves each one of His sons, no matter how many times we fail. Nowadays, they live in Madrid and they are willing to support the Chalice of Mercy Foundation’s activities to the best of their abilities.

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